SAYAW MINDANAW 2015: Mindanao’s Colorful Indigenous Dance Festival

An exceptional convergence of vibrant colors accompanied by rhythmic beats and graceful movements of different tribes of Mindanao were showcased in the recently concluded 30th Kadayawan sa Dabaw through the staging of Sayaw Mindanaw, an annual indigenous-based dance competition held in Davao City as part of the weeklong Kadayawan Festival celebration. For another year, I am so grateful to have witnessed such spectacular revelry.

DSC_0051Ten dance and theatre ensembles coming from different cities and towns in Mindanao converged at Davao City Recreation Center as finalists for the annual competition. Sayaw Mindanaw is regarded as one of the key events of the festival as it depicts the rich and vibrant culture and tradition of Mindanao portrayed though live indigenous music and theatrical dance narratives.

Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (3) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (4) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (5) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (8)Sayaw Mindanaw is open to all dance groups of students, out of school youth and community based performers though out Mindanao. Entries should be of theatrical dance narratives narrating Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ epics, folklores and traditions.

Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (9) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (15) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (17) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (19) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (23) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (26) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (32)Butuan City’s Kadanao Dance Theater Collective was adjudged as this year’s Sayaw Mindanao Grand Champion. Second place went to Madayaw Cultural Ensemble from Davao City and Kathara Dance Theater Collective also from Davao City bagged the third prize.

Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (37) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (43) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (56) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (58) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (60) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (66) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (74) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (79) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (84)For the second year in a row, the Pantuyan National High School Dance Troupe of Caraga Davao Oriental bagged the special citation as Best in Research Material. This group represented the Mandaya Culture of Province of Davao Oriental.

Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (88) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (90) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (91) Sayaw Mindanaw 2015 (96) The staging of Sayaw Mindanaw every year as part of the Kadayawan Festival celebration is one great opportunity to better understand and appreciate Mindanao’s indigenous culture and traditions. Our diversity and multi-ethnicity make this island the most interesting cultural destination in the country.

GRAND WINNER – KADANAO DANCE THEATER COLLECTIVE

SAYAW MINDANAW 2015 WINNING PERFORMANCE KADANAO DANCE THEATER COLLECTIVE from BUTUAN CITY is Sayaw Mindanaw 2015’s Grand Winner. Sayaw Mindanaw is one of the highlights of Kadayawan Sa Dabaw Festival.#KadayawanFestival2015#ByahengMindanaw#SayawMindanaw2015

Posted by The Travel Teller on Thursday, August 20, 2015

SECOND PLACE – MADAYAW CULTURAL ENSEMBLE

SAYAW MINDANAW 2015 – MADAYAW CULTURAL ENSEMBLE (1ST RUNNER UP)SAYAW MINDANAW 2015 – FIRST RUNNER UP MADAYAW CULTURAL ENSEMBLE – DAVAO CITYSayaw Mindanaw is one of the highlights of Kadayawan Sa Dabaw Festival.#K2015 #Kadayawan2015 #KadayawanSaDabaw2015 #KadayawanFestival2015 #SayawMindanaw2015

Posted by The Travel Teller on Thursday, August 20, 2015

THIRD PLACE – KADANAO DANCE THEATER COLLECTIVE

SAYAW MINDANAW 2015 – KATHARA DANCE THEATER COLLECTIVE (2ND)SAYAW MINDANAW 2015 – SECOND RUNNER UPKATHARA DANCE THEATER COLLECTIVE – DAVAO CITYSayaw Mindanaw is one of the highlights of Kadayawan Sa Dabaw Festival.#K2015 #Kadayawan2015 #KadayawanSaDabaw2015 #KadayawanFestival2015 #SayawMindanaw2015

Posted by The Travel Teller on Friday, August 21, 2015

BEST IN RESEARCH MATERIAL – PANTUYAN NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

TRIBUNG MANDAYA | SAYAW MINDANAW 2015SAYAW MINDANAW 2015 – PANTUYAN NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL | TRIBUNG MANDAYAPantuyan National High School Dance Troupe of CARAGA, DAVAO ORIENTAL joined AGAIN this year’s SAYAW MINDANAW in celebration of Kadayawan sa Dabaw 2015 representing the MANDAYA Indigenous People of our beloved Province of Davao Orientall. The group ended with special citation as BEST IN RESEARCH MATERIAL.Congratulations guys and thank si much for bringing PRIDE and HONOR to our PROVINCE!!! Watch it on HD please!#K2015 #Kadayawan2015 #KadayawanSaDabaw2015 #KadayawanFestival2015 #SayawMindanaw2015

Posted by The Travel Teller on Thursday, August 20, 2015

STAYCATION IN STYLE AT THE MARCO POLO DAVAO

When I got the invitation for the Food and Travel Bloggers’ Familiarization Tour tagged as “Heart of Davao”, I never wavered to say yes. Who am I to say no for a 4D/3N stay at Davao’s finest and most luxurious hotel – the Marco Polo Davao? Besides, it’s not only the Marco Polo that is part in itinerary. The world-class Pearl Farm Beach Resort and the Eden Nature Park and Resort are also on the list. Hence, this sounds one great staycation and the best time to revisit some of my favorite destinations in Davao.

Staycation In Style

Staycation In Style

Though I live in the city and I enjoy my pretty relaxing home here, staying in different hotels has been my favorite way of treating myself as self-reward. Long before the word staycation was created, I would call this “reward” as hotel hopping. Though I have stayed in different hotels in Davao, this stay at Marco Polo Davao would be my first. Thanks to this Heart of Davao Tour.

The Lobby Lounge

The Lobby Lounge

Two weeks before this tour, I was in my hometown of Cateel doing some laborious task. I got back in the city worn out, sunburns all over my body and with aching muscles. And luckily, this posh staycation was just so perfect. This is the kind of staycation I was looking forward to experience. So from my hometown, I traveled back to the big city and went straight to my luxurious 4D/3N pampering at the Marco Polo Davao.

Reception and Main Lobby

Reception and Main Lobby

Despite the rapid increase of new and posh hotels in the heart of the city and north bound of the Davao, The Marco Polo has exquisitely maintained its reputation as the most luxurious hotel in the City assuring its guests with its exceptional blend of Western comforts and Asian hospitality! Be it for business or for pleasure, Marco Polo Davao promises its guests to be a home away from home. Even for local Davaoeños seeking for weekend respite, staying at Marco Polo Hotel guarantees one amazing staycation.

Checked In: The Travel Teller

Nestled at the very heart of the city, Marco Polo Davao offers spacious 5-star accommodations that overlook the majestic Mount Apo and the tranquil Gulf of Davao.

The view of Samal Island and the Davao Gulf from the Marco Polo Davao

The view of Samal Island and the Davao Gulf from the Marco Polo Davao

The majestic Mount Apo on the other side.

The majestic Mount Apo on the other side.

As I entered, I immediately fell in love with my room. Indeed, size does matter and yes, this Deluxe Room where I was booked is so spacious for one person. Everything inside the room is a work of style – beautifully designed to complement such beautiful ambience. The bed is exceptionally comfortable I could stay there for the whole day. The pillows are so soft I cuddle them for hours. And just as I prayed, my room is at the 12th floor overlooking the gorgeous Samal Island. The view was just superb. The bed, the pillows, the cozy room, everything – they promised me for a sound sleep and an unforgettable stay.

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My Oh-So-Relaxing Room at the 12th Floor

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Hotel bathrooms like this are simply irresistible.

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How I love BUBBLE BATH! 🙂

But it wasn’t just the rooms of the Marco Polo Davao I adored most. Talk about food, they filled us with gastronomic experience I still crave until now. The hotel’s Café Marco serves a wide array of international buffet that delectably satisfied my palate. The selection and variety of food is good. They got good selection of Japanese, Italian, French, American and even Filipino cuisines that definitely delighted my cravings. I took my power breakfasts here for three days.

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Cafe Marco Serving International Buffet

Dessert for my Sweet Tooth

Dessert for my Sweet Tooth

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Power Breakfast

For Chinese Food lovers like me, Marco Polo’s Cantonese restaurant called Lotus Court is heaven. From the choices of delectable platter of Dimsum to the perfectly-cooked Yin-Yang Garoupa which is a Lotus Court signature dish, in-house made Tofu with Mixed Mushroom and Broccoli to famed Yang Chow Fried Rice – ahhhhh, Lotus Court is heaven on earth. And for a heavenly dessert, the Dark Chocolate-filled Buchi is a winner!

The Lotus Court

The Lotus Court

Dimsum Platter

Dimsum Platter

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Shredded Chicken

Shredded Chicken

Yin-Yang Garoupa

Yin-Yang Garoupa

For inter-continental ala carte cuisines, the Polo Bistro is a must try. This is only outdoor restaurant of the Marco Polo Davao and it provides an exquisite ambiance and superb food. I’m highly recommending the brandied pepper steak with herb for main course. Quite pricey but worth the money.

The Polo Bistro

The Polo Bistro

TMarco Polo Davao 4 TMarco Polo Davao 11 TMarco Polo Davao 29 TMarco Polo Davao 32 TMarco Polo Davao 46Marco Polo Davao arranges tour for their guests. In our part, we were treated an extraordinary Davao Tour which includes a visit to Davao Museum that houses Davao’s colorful past. We also had a day trip to the world-class Pearl Farm Beach Resort in the Island Garden City of Samal and a quick visit to Malagos Cheese House. They also included our trip to Eden Nature Park and Resort and the Philippine Eagle Center. These are the must-visit places when in the city and Marco Polo Davao proficiently arranges tours to these destinations. Though I’m from Davao and have been to these places, I never get tired visiting them.

The Pearl Farm Beach Resort

The Pearl Farm Beach Resort

Skycycle of Eden Nature Park and Resort

Skycycle of Eden Nature Park and Resort

After those fun-filled trips to Davao’s must see places, it was time for some pampering. Marco Polo Davao’s Lazuli Spa is expert to that. Being the best and most luxurious Spa in Davao, no one leaves the place without feeling the sense of Royalty. Inside, Lazuli Spa is an exquisite work of architecture that blends the elegance of Modern and Asian settings. Each room comes with complete amenities which include rain showers & steam room and each has separate toilet for total convenience and privacy.

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Lazuli Spa, the best and the most luxurious spa in Davao City

DCIM100GOPROLazuli Spa offers varied array of Spa treatments which absolutely meet the clients’ needs. Since I needed pampering from my two exhausted weeks of hard work, I chose the most relaxing two-hour aromatherapy massage. And just as they promised, the warm relaxing hands of the therapists and the relaxing ambience of the room soothed and reinvigorated me leaving in a state pure serenity and rejuvenation.

DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPROJust beside the Lazuli Spa is the Marco Polo Davao’s Fitness Center well equipped with cardiovascular and strength training equipment with well-trained fitness instructors. There is an aerobics room and sauna rooms for male and female. Though hotel guests have accessed to use all the facilities for free, I didn’t have the luxury of time sweating out here. But what I didn’t miss was taking a dip at the hotel’s pool. I have to admit it, it is just simply irresistible.

DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPROMarco Polo Davao is also just a stone-throw away from pasalubong centers, banks, schools, even shopping malls, government offices and churches. Everything is within reach making one’s stay, be it for business or simply just staycation, so worthwhile.

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Staying at the Marco Polo Davao gives me the opportunity to experience that glamour and that luxury that Marco Polo Hotels around the globe are known for. It was by far the best and most luxurious staycation I’ve had here in Davao City – pampering myself with the quality of hotel services only this type of hotel can offer. Given a great chance, I shall come back and stay again in this place I can now call – A True Gem in the Heart of the City! 

Given a great chance, I shall come back and stay again in this place I can now call – A True Gem in the Heart of the City!

Given a great chance, I shall come back and stay again in this place I can now call – A True Gem in the Heart of the City!

HOW TO GET THERE:

Marco Polo Davao is about 12 kilometers away from the Davao City International Aiprort. It is about 20-minute drive by car. You can arrange a hotel’s shuttle bus, which plies to and from the airport at a minimal fee.

MARCO POLO DAVAO
C.M. Recto Street
Davao City 8000, Philippines
Tel. (63 82) 221-0888
Fax. (63 82) 225-0111

TUPI, SOUTH COTABATO: Simply Beautiful

South Cotabato now gradually known as the Land of the Dreamweavers is best known for its vast plantation of fruits and vegetables. The province owes its fertile soil to the volcanic waste that eroded from the orifice of the magnificent Mt. Matutum. One of the towns in the Province richly endowed with this natural resources is the town of Tupi.

WELCOME TO TUPI

WELCOME TO TUPI, SOUTH COTABATO

Tupi is known as the fruit capital not only of South Cotabato but the whole of SoCCSKSarGen Region. It boasts of its vast pineapple plantations just located along the national highway with the imposing view of the majestic Mount Matutum dominating in the background. Aside from pineapple and other fruits, Tupi is also greatly known for its vast cut-flower and vegetables lantation.

South Cotabato is also known as the Land of the Dreamweavers.

South Cotabato is also known as the Land of the Dreamweavers.

The Majestic Mount Matutum

The Majestic Mount Matutum

The Vast Pineapple Plantation of Tupi, South Cotabato

The Vast Pineapple Plantation of Tupi, South Cotabato

Along the national highway is the Tupi Fruit Stand that sells tropical fruit produce and preserved fruits from Tupi. It is strategically located along the national highway within Barangay Kablon and Polonuling. If you’re into bottled fruit jams, perhaps you’ve heard of Kablon Farms. They’re from Tupi.

Tupi Fruit Stand located along the national highway within Barangay Kablon and Polonuling.

Tupi Fruit Stand located along the national highway within Barangay Kablon and Polonuling.

sweet fresh delicious pineapple

sweet fresh delicious pineapple

In the heart of the town is the charming Tupi Municipal Hall and Town Plaza. Its unique architectural design with attention-grabbing colors possesses a stunning appeal that has become a unique attraction to passersby. Believe me, I was captivated too by this structure when we passed by the town.

I was captivated by this structure when we passed by the town.

I was captivated by this structure when we passed by the town.

Attention-grabber Municipal Town Hall

Attention-grabber Municipal Town Hall

Beautiful Tupi

Beautiful Tupi

The Municipal Town Plaza

The Municipal Town Plaza

About 20-minute drive from the town proper is the Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape. Deep into this forest reserve is the Linan Tarsier Sanctuary situated in Sitio Bagong Silang, a small B’laan village in Barangay Linan.

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Linan Tarsier Sanctuary Reception Area

The Travel Teller in Byaheng Mindanaw | Tupi Leg

The Travel Teller in Byaheng Mindanaw | Tupi Leg

Long before the strict conservation of Tarsier and other wild life in this protected area, B’laans were used to cut trees and burn them to make charcoals as source of livelihood. When the local government implemented the protection of the wildlife in the site, they found it hard to convince the B’laans to stop this practice. But with the alternative livelihood program and intense information drive introduced to the community about the necessity to protect the habitat, the locals eventually realized the importance of the wildlife and the need to conserve them.

B'laan House in Sitio Linan

B’laan House in Sitio Linan

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Fadlung, a B’laan Musical Instrument

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I bought this tribal musical instrument for only Php 300.00

Today, Linan Tarsier Sanctuary is both managed by the local government and the B’laan community with the support of the NGOs and other agencies. Together, they work hard to preserve the Tarsiers that they locally “tukay mal” or “small monkey” and other wildlife that can be found at the foot of Mt. Matutum like squirrels, flying foxes, civets, and several species of eagles.

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THE TRAVEL TELLER and the B’laan Culture

Those who’d like to Visit Linan Tarsier Sanctuary can also experience immersion program with the B’laan community. B’laans are generally hospitable and good-natured people. Here, you will experience indigenous culture, local food and their way of life. You will not only be amazed by the wildlife of Sitio Linan but also by the rich culture of the IP community living and protecting the area.

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Native Chicken Soup

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Deep Fried Freshwater Crablets

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Native Chicken Adobo in Bamboo Loot

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Ampalaya Leaves Salad

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B’laan Delectable Dishes

So the next time you visit South Cobatabo, don’t just pass by Tupi. Perhaps, you can park your car on the side, run to the vast Pineapple Plantation and get yourself a striking selfie there with Mt. Matutum at your background. Or perhaps, a selfie at the Municipal Hall or maybe a selfie of you eating pineapple at the Tupi Fruit Stand. Or better yet, go to Linan and spend the night there with the B’laans and the Tarsiers. Because just so you know, TUPI IS BEAUTIFUL.

SECDEA BEACH RESORT: Comfort and Leisure at its Best

The Island Garden City of Samal has always been Southern Mindanao’s premier beach and island destination. It is dotted not only with pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters but with eco-adventure destinations one should not miss when visiting the island.

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The Charm of Island Living

Considered by some as the largest resort city in the country, Samal Island is home to finest beach resorts in the region. Every year new beach resorts even highland and inland resorts are being constructed to cater more visitors flocking the island. The newest addition is the SECDEA Beach Resort. 

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SECDEA BEACH RESORT: Comfort and Leisure at its Best

SECDEA Beach Resort is conveniently located in San Isidro, Babak District. It is easily accessible whether by a private car or the island’s famed habal-habal ride. It is about 15 minutes travel if you’re coming from Babak proper or 25 minute from Peñaplata. More than the resort’s proximity, SECDEA’s modern facilities and amenities are among the reasons why it should be the place of your choice on your next visit to Samal.

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The Open Lobby.

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SECDEA’s reception building

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Well manicured lawns sit contemporary-designed villas

SECDEA Beach Resort boasts a stunning beach atmosphere with state-of-the-art amenities and facilities, contemporary-designed beach villas and cottages, and uniquely-designed architecture. It is ideally designed to provide convenience and recreation whether basking on the beach, frolicking in the sand or just roaming around the 56-hectare property.

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WELCOME TO SECDEA.

WELCOME TO SECDEA.

One of the most recommended things to do while in SECDEA is the Mangrove Walk. It features wooden and concrete bridges perfect to stroll around the mangrove mini-forest. Inside the area is a mangrove nursery where Patapat and Bakhaw are grown.

Mangrove Walk is a must-experience thing when in SECDEA.

Mangrove Walk is a must-experience thing when in SECDEA.

Mangrove Walk is a must-experience thing when in SECDEA.

Mangrove Walk is a must-experience thing when in SECDEA.

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Mangrove nursery where Patapat and Bakhaw are grown.

Another feature of this first class resort is the huge Lagoon and Fish Pond perfectly built near the main entrance. It serves as a charming welcoming sight upon entering the vicinity of the resort. Here, fishing is allowed where one can catch Tilapia and Bangus – and yes, you can have them cooked fresh for you.

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Another feature of this first class resort is this huge Lagoon and Fish Pond.

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It is a welcoming sight upon entering the vicinity of the resort.

SECDEA’s infinity pool by the restaurant is a charmer. It offers a magnificent panoramic view of the Davao Gulf and the two famous Liguid Islands – a very therapeutic and relaxing sight to behold. In addition to that are the enticing colors of the white shoreline, the azure skies and the blue seawaters that perfectly blend to define a perfect tropical haven.

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Just beautiful!

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…so they say LIFE IS A BEACH!

The Infinity Pool.

SECDEA’s Infinity Pool.

SECDEA’s villas, lodges and seaside cottages are designed with coziness and comfort – all comes with clean, spacious and modern bathrooms. For those who wish to stay, there are seaside cottages for couples, spacious lodges for a family of four and comfy villas for bigger groups or families. Room rates ranges to from Php 3,500.00 to Php 12,000.00.

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Our lovely Seashell Room

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Me and my travel buddy IDA of ChoosePhilippines enjoying our spacious room at SECDEA

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Clean contemporary bathrooms

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SECDEA Selfie. A must.

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SECDEA’s Lodge can accommodate up to 4 persons.

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These villas can accommodate up to 12 persons. Really worth it.

There are so many things one can do here at SECDEA. You can sweat out and climb up the 124-steps stairway that will lead you to the hill overlooking the view of Davao Gulf and the entire Resort. Trust me, the view from the top is just breathtaking.

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The view of SECDEA and Davao Gulf

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124-steps stairway. Yes, 214 steps.

You can also roam around the entire property by riding or driving a golf cart. Vehicles are not allowed inside the main resort but spacious parking area are located just beside the main entrance. Golf carting around SECDEA is an amazing experience. But wait, they too have bicycles, you can borrow from them and go wander around the property.

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Golf carting is fun in SECDEA.

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And biking too!

What about the food? They serve oh-so-delectable dishes that will make you feel like you’re in the comfort of your home. I’m highly recommending their own version of Bagnet Pinakbet and Adobo. Get yourself a refreshing Guyabano shake too – just perfect for a sunny beach day.

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This is lip-smacking – SECDEA’s own version of BAGNET PINAKBET.

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Tuna belly in coconut milk – just so heavenly!

What about day-tour tripping? Worry not, SECDEA offers day tour trip for only Php 750.00 pesos and that comes with a sumptuous buffet lunch, free use of the pool, mangrove walk and tour around the resort.

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Mangrove walk is my personal favorite here in SECDEA.

Never leave SECDEA without dropping by the resort's CHAPEL. Better yet say a prayer.

Never leave SECDEA without dropping by at the resort’s CHAPEL. Better yet say a prayer.

Whether you’re here for a day tour, for a night or two, SECDEA Beach Resort will embrace you with warmth and comfort giving you another feel of that so called “charm of Tropical Island Living”. After all, SECDEA is Samal Island ‘s newest Comfort and Relaxation Destination.

DAY TOUR RATES AND ROOM RATES AT SECDEA BEACH RESORT

ROOM RATES AND DAY TOUR RATES AT SECDEA BEACH RESORT

SECDEA BEACH RESORT UPDATED RATES

For more information, you may check the details and related information below. 

SECDEA Beach Resort
San Isidro, Babak District
Island Garden City of Samal
Telephone Numbers: (082) 305 2774 / 305-4028 / 295-7912
Mobile Numbers: 0932-868-0887 / 0925-892-6072
https://www.facebook.com/secdeabeachresort

 

AWESOME 2014: The Year That Was

2014 was an awesome year for me traveling around the Philippines and discover many interesting places especially those that I’ve never been. But I guess the highlights of my travels are those journeys and experiences that have left indelible marks in my heart. My journey around these beautiful islands of Mindanao on the other hand was an enriching experience. Not only because I’ve got to see and discover new places but because of the different culture I’ve learned and somehow lived along the way – something that has changed me in a way today. I did so many amazing crazy never-wracking things that I never even imagined I would be doing. Above all, the great people I met along the way who share the same passion and love for travels and culture like I do. And some of these awesome people became my instant family and together we swore to the loyal brotherhood of #ByahengMindanaw, capturing the beauty and culture of Mindanao and share it to the world. These photos below are some of the funnest and memorable moments I had in 2014. Enjoy! It was an awesome 2014!

THE TRAVEL TELLER’S BEST OF 2014

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Revisit the Walled City of Intramuros in Manila during my birthday. Awesome 2014.

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I have long wanted to visit the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna and I made it there last year. Thanks to my loving cousin Ate Marybeth  and Kuya Ed who brought me there. Awesome 2014.

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CARILAYA, QUEZON, who would have thought I could be here? Awesome 2014.

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I have been around places in the Philippines but it was only last year that I finally set foot in the highlands of Tagaytay City. Awesome 2014.

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The Province of South Cotabato became my second home province last year. Visited the province and its towns for more than ten times. Awesome 2014.

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I fell in love with Lake Sebu in South Cotabato when I spent four days and three nights there last year! It was a magical experience. Awesome 2014.

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2014 is the birth of Byaheng Mindanaw, a group of travel bloggers, writers and photographers joined together traveling around Mindanao for one goal – capture the beauty of Mindanao Island and share it to the world. Here, we become FAMILY. Awesome 2014.

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I’ve been to Glan in Sarangani Province for couple of times but it was only last year when I got to appreciate the old laid-back charm of the town. Truly, this Heritage Town of Soccsksargen Region is a jewel to Mindanao. Oh yes, they celebrated its centenary last year. Awesome 2014.

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Officially this is the first festival I attended last year – the Tinabangay Festival of Socorro, Surigao Del Norte. Socorro is the home of the famous Bucas Grande Islands, my personal favorite here in Mindanao. Awesome 2014.

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Behind me is the vast pineapple plantation of South Cotabato situated in Tupi. And that imposing volcano in the backdrop is Mount Matutum, the landmark of SoCCSkSarGen Region. Awesome 2014

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I made it to the largest Provincial Capitol Compound in Mindanao, the Province of Agusan Del Sur. Awesome 2014.

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These are the united colors of T’nalak Festival in the Province of South Cotabato. It is one of the festivals that amused me in so many ways last year. I’m looking forward to witness it again this year. Awesome 2014.

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Pintados Y Carabao | UGMAD Festival in the City of Tagum is just one of many festivals on this Palm City of Davao Region. Lucky to have witnessed some of those festivals of this city. Awesome 2014.

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…and I made to the ORG-ARMM Compound in Catabato City. This is the center of Government of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Thanks to my friends at HRC-ARMM for bringing us here. Awesome 2014.

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This is the flysite of Sarangani Paraglide. And yes I had awesome flights not once but twice. Thanks Titoy and Carlaa for the awesome experience! Awesome 2014.

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The Tuna Capital of the Philippines staged once again the annual Tuna Festival and this year is my second! General Santos City is ♥. Awesome 2014.

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I braved climbing a huge Sampaloc Tree towering at 50 feet high and made it to the top. And up there I marveled at one of most beautiful sights I’ve seen in years. Oh God, I wish I lived here. This is Baras Bird Sanctuary in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat. Awesome 2014.

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It was full of controversies but still Davao City’s Kadayawan Festival gave me stunning photos that show the vibrancy and vividness of this Mother Festival of Mindanao. Awesome 2014.

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ACHIEVED! This is in my bucketlist and finally I made it to the GRANDEST MOSQUE in the Philippines – the Grand Mosque of Cotabato City. Awesome 2014.

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When Lolong, a one-ton, 21-foot crocodile caught and caged in Bunawan, Agusan Del Sur on September 21, 2011, I bucketlisted the place where it was caught – the vast Agusan Marsh. It was only last year that this wish came true. Sadly, we didn’t see any crocodile when we visited Agusan Marsh last year. Still, awesome 2014.

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This is Lagoon Tiktikan of Bucas Grande Islands in Soccoro, Surigao del Norte. This is one of my favorites in the whole BGI. On my second visit here last year, the locals told me that they spotted a submarine in the middle of the lagoon. It stayed there for couple of hours. Hmmmm. Awesome 2014.

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If there is one thing that paid off all my efforts in documenting different destinations and adventures in the Philippines, it would be the Lake Sebu Zipline in South Cotabato. My video riding this extremely exciting zipline went viral not only in the Philippines but around the world. US-based JukinVideo listed it in the top 50 viral videos in the world. Awesome 2014.

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I love ARAKAN VALLEY. This is where I find truest meaning of peace and serenity amid nature’s embrace and the friendly Manobos living in this place. The most challenging waterfalls trek I have ever done is also here at Matigol Falls. It was a death defying trek. Awesome 2014.

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Where is the white house? A question I’ve been asking for many times whenever I visit the Island Garden City of Samal. Luckily, I made it last year. This house is the headquarter of the Moncadista, a local sect, living in the island many years ago.It is sometimes considered a cult. The house is more than 50 years old and now dilapidated. I hope the LGU will do something to restore this house. After all, this is a heritage site of the Island. Still, awesome 2014.

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My love affair with mountain climbing started with my trek to Puting Bato, the highest peak in Samal Island. Since 2010, I have been coming back here. There is something in the summit that I fell in love with. Like the previous years, I spent another night here with my crazy loving travel buddies. Awesome 2014.

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The Maxima Aqua Fun in Samal was a blast for me. I only did not enjoy this banana boat ride but truly had fun with their super drop and water blob. Looking forward to do this again. Awesome 2014.

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This photo started the #ByahengMindanaw proejct. It is very simple, travel around Mindanao and wear authentic Mindanaoan attire. Thus, my first #ByahengMindanaw experience is in the beautiful beach of Babusanta, Talicud Island.

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One of  my top selfies of 2014 – me boating in the tea-colored waters of Panlaguhan Lake in Agusan Marsh amid seas of lotus and water hyacinths with lonely bangkal trees and floating houses on the background. I will never forget this place. Awesome 2014.

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This is my first #ByahengMindanaw dance in the vast pineapple plantation of Tupi, South Cotabato. Mount Matutum in the background was covered by thick clouds. But it wasn’t only me dancing, my #BM team also did. Twas hilarious for all of us in the start. Hahaha. Awesome 2014.

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When I visit Kiamba in Sarangani Province, I failed to set foot and frolic in the sands of Tuka Bay Marine Sanctuary. Last year, with my #ByahengMindanaw team, we made it there and enjoy every bit of its pristine splendor. That lovely house by the beach is owned by Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao who is also the Congressman of the province. Awesome 2014.

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This is a Chili Solar Dryer of Dumang Makers in my hometown of Cateel. This is very special to me because this represents the resiliency and strength of my fellow Cateelenos one year after the massive destruction of Typhoon Pablo. Chili Production and Processing is the leading alternative livelihood source of our people their now. The story I made about this industry gave me my 2014 Davao Media Excellence Award as Blogger of the Year and Social Media Advocate of the Year. Awesome 2014.

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This is Boston, not in Massachusetts but in Davao Oriental. It’s a neighboring town of my hometown of Cateel and this particular place is the first community-managed resort supported by DSWD and other NGOs a part of the livelihood program after the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo. Awesome 2014

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Along with my crazy friends, we invaded Davao Crocodile Park Ground for this epic Kadayawan Invasion, an electronic music festival attended by thousands of people from different parts of the region. I did craziest things here that I lost my phones and my GoPro remote control. I was wasted I ended up sleeping in my car when the party ended. But it wasn’t just me. My crazy friends were wasted too. We were all wasted. Hahaha. What an awesome 2014.

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I swam and dived in the waters of Tagbaobo in the Island Garden City of Samal. This is a marine protected area and just one of the many things to do in this community-based tourism site in the Island. Thanks to Ms, Generose Tecson for bringing us here. Awesome 2014.

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My good friend Edwin Lasquite aka Madayaw Wow Dagway brought me to this well manicured botanical garden of his home City of Tagum. I didn’t expect this to really amaze me. Awesome 2014.

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With my friends in the media Kenneth Ong and Jinggoy Salvador, I was sent to Manila by the DOT-Mindanao Office to cover the Philippine Travel Mart in MOA Manila. This is the biggest and longest running travel mart in the country. It was a privilege to be there and have witnessed such a spectacular event. I had the chance to meet, greet and talk to the key people in the Tourism Industry. Awesome 2014.

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It was also in 2014 that I got to finally visit the National Museum of the Philippines and worship beautiful visual arts laid before my very eyes. I cried when I got to finally stand before this painting of Juan Luna called Spoliarium. I only see this on books and now it was just before my very eyes. Awesome 2014.

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Inside the Nation Museum is also the Manansala Collection.  This is just among the many amazing art collections housed inside the Museum. I’m not contended. Looking forward to come back and enjoy more time at the Pambasang Museo ng Pilipinas. Awesome 2014.

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I visited the one of the grandest and most beautiful Capitol Building I’ve been the entire country. This is Capitol Building of the Province of Sultan Kudarat. Just sooooooo beautiful. Awesome 2014.

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And i love to be here at the Highlands of Sarangani Province overlooking the calm Sarangani Bay. So peaceful. Awesome 2014.

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This is Duka Bay Resort, a spacious beach hotel, restaurant, beach resort and dive site with a view of Camiguin Island located in the very heart of Medina, Misamis Oriental. Thank to my Fernandez Family, I made it here last year. Awesome 2014.

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Matigol Falls in Arakan, Cotabato is ♥. One of personal faves in Mindanao. Revisited it last year. Awesome 2014.

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One of my favorite festivals in the Philippines is the Kaamulan Festival in the province of Bukidnon. Last year was said to be the grandest as they celebrated its 100 years as a province. Two days were spent for the Street Dancing competition and it was mind blowing. Awesome 2014.

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Lake Holon was just a dream but it become a reality last year when I said YES to climb Mount Melibingoy in T’boli South Cotabato to see this magnificent natural attraction of the ScoCSKSargen Region. This is one of the highlights of my trip last year. Awesome 2014.

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Been to Samal Island for countless of times but it was only last year when I set foot at the Southernmost tip of the Isalnd – in San Remigio. Pristine beaches they have there! Awesome 2014.

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Attended the colorful Talakudong Festival in Tacurong City. I went home with one of these Kudongs (hat) as one of my souvenirs. Thanks Maam Emelie. 🙂 Awesome 2014.

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The world around me. My first visit to the Mind Museum. Thank you Darwin Cayetano for bringing me here. Awesome 2014.

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This is where I prayed on my Valentine Birthday 2014 – the Calamba Church just beside the Rizal House in Calamba, Laguna. It was a very memorable birthday for me spent somewhere away from my hometown of Cateel and my home city of Davao. Awesome 2014.

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Sorry this is not BATANES. This is in TUMALIKTIK in my hometown of Cateel. Been to this place hundred times but twas only last year when I realized how picturesque this place can be. 🙂 Awesome 2014.

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I was never a temple runner but I’m a certified tree hugger. This Toog Tree is tallest tree in the whole Province of Agusan Del Sur and is located along the national highway making it one of the most popular landmarks in the Province. Awesome 2014.

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Meet the legendary LANG DULAY. Checked. She is a National Living Treasure (Manlilikha ng Bayan) awardee from the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for her contribution in the preservation of T’boli culture and for her fine craftsmanship of the delicate abaca fibers. I met her not only once but twice. Naaaaaks. Awesome 2014.

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It took us 6 hours to find this SICAO FALLS in the verdant mountain of Tamayong just to be here and did this pose! Hahaha. Tamayong is still part of the vast Davao City. Awesome 2014.

#ByahengMindanaw Team at Gumasa Beach

THANK YOU 2014! YOU ARE SO AWESOME!

AWESOME 2014: The Year That Was.
Now, bring it on 2015.
I’m so excited for you!